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It's true we spend more on our grocery budget than most people would. I'm not going into number details here because I think that's personal and I wouldn't ask you to tell me what you spend on yours. But I do think that your food spending should be a decent part of your overall budget and not just a drop in the bucket because what you put into your mouth is the biggest factor of your health. We do not spend much on sick care because we use our food budget as our health care. With that being said, I totally understand that there are some that need to cut every corner imaginable in order to put that good quality food into your mouth. So I have here a list of ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank. I hope it helps you.

#1. Have a budget - Know how much you can spend. My husband and I LOVE the guidance of Dave Ramsey and his book, Financial Peace.  But of course, there are lots of sources out there to guide you in making a budget if you don't already have one.  The important thing is, make one, make food a priority in it over vacation, entertainment and luxury items and stick to it.

#2.  Plan a Menu -  I already talked about planning a menu in my post on Menu Planning. In planning a menu, one is able to plan ahead on items you already have in the freezer, things that are on sale in your grocery store sale flyer (hopefully produce and organic or grass-fed meats), and space out your more expensive meals with less expensive meals in between.

#3  Cook From Scratch -  It really is cheaper.  We rarely eat out or get take-out. One, now that we eat quality food we actually get allergic reactions if we accidentally ingest artificial ingredients, especially neurotoxins (see my post on Our Food Story and others if you are not familiar with this yet).  Staying home and cooking from scratch saves a huge chunk of money.

#4  Eat Your Leftovers - I'm not sure why some people put their noses up at leftovers.  They make a wonderful breakfast or lunch if you don't want to save them for another dinner.  I usually schedule one leftover meal per week - if we run out of leftovers thru the week before this meal, then I just make an omelet or something simple.  Usually I eat leftover vegetables with breakfast as a side with my eggs.

#5.  Eat the Right Foods -  After eating It Starts With Food and changing how we eat a little more than what we already were doing, I learned that I was saving money because when we eat right we don't have the need for snacks.  It's true.  If my breakfast contains the right amount of protein, vegetables and a healthy fat, I'm not hungry until lunch time.  The same with other meals and in the evening time when I was usually hungry for those processed goodies that are costly and aren't healthy.

#6.  Coupons - I just learned this trick...no, not coupons in general but coupons for those expensive organic foods you don't normally find in the newspaper.  Call the company (or email) and tell them you want to try their product but don't want to spend the money.  Many of these companies are willing to send you  coupons! You can also follow your favorite organic/natural food companies by email, newsletters or Facebook or Twitter and keep an eye out for sales or coupons advertised on those sites!

#8.  Find a Co-op, CSA or Online Source -  In a small city close to where I live there is a pick up location for UNFI.  We order from the catalog almost monthly.  It involves a once a year fee but we save about 10% off usually already lower prices in the catalog for packaged items like natural soaps, detergents, shampoos and other items.  They have lots of processed snacks and fours, etc. as well though I don't buy so much of that anymore.  I have also found that Amazon often has the products I need at much lower prices with delivery right to my door in 2 days time since I am an Amazon Prime member.

#9.  Gardening -  You can save A LOT of money by planting your own organic vegetables and learning how to can or freeze.  If you don't have time to can, you'd be amazed at how much you can freeze.  Buying an extra freezer is minimal compared to how much money you will save in the long run. If you live in an apartment, container gardening is still doable! Every little bit helps - even if it's just a cherry tomato plant!

#10 -  Buy half a cow -  That's right.  If you find a farmer in your area that has grass-fed beef, find out the cost of how much buying a half a cow or even a quarter would be. It's worth buying a small to medium-sized freezer to do this. You'd be amazed at how much less it actually is per pound than going to the grocery store and buying it in single unit packages from them.  We have a great farmer that we work with and because we do buy in 'bulk' from him he will often give us discounts when we need to buy single items from him at the farmer's market....which leads me to # 11....

#11  Buy at your local farmer's market.  You need to ask questions but you'd be surprised.  Some of these farmers raise their crops organically but do not have the money and time to put into getting the organic label.  This saves YOU money.  Ask questions...find the best quality for the lower price.  And you might find a cattle farmer like we did 🙂

#12 Serve smaller portions of meat.  Don't forget that vegetables should really cover the largest area on your plate.  Your meat or fish portion should only be about a fistful (maybe two if you're a big guy).  Following that guideline is healthier and will help save money.  Quality Meats do tend to be more costly than vegetables.

So there's my 12 tips for the day to heat healthy without going broke.  I bet there are more that my readers can come up with.  Do you care to share how you save money and still eat healthy?

So what DO you eat??

I am often asked this question.  It's usually right after a brief explanation of what our family can not eat, due to severe allergic reactions...now that we don't eat the ingredients I've mentioned in previous posts ( The Truth About MSG  and Our Food Story), our reactions to these ingredients when accidentally ingested are usually quicker,  more obvious, and sometimes severe like major mood swings but are usually things like rashes, itchiness, hives, vomitting, anxiety, headaches and sleeplessness(though now we are much better at identifying what we can and can not have, accidental ingestion is very rare).

Well, my quick answer has always been....if God made it, no problem, we eat it.  If man messed with it.....nnnnot so much.  But recently, I've realized we were eating more things that man messed with than I realized or at least admitted.

We were still eating organic granola bars, pastas, pizza dough (homemade and organic pre-made brands), cakes, cookies, and more.  Let's face it.  God did not make pizza or pasta trees nor can you find any chocolate chip cookies growing in your garden.  These are not natural foods. So I guess my answer should have been, "Food products that do not have completely artificial ingredients added to them and a lot of minimally processed meals that are made from scratch with lots of vegetables included."  That may have summed it up a little bit closer to the truth.

But now I can say we do, about 90% of the time, eat only what God made for us to consume. The Lord knows what we need and that is what he's given to us.  I've read quite extensively in recent months to further understand how processed foods and foods most people 'think' are normal healthy foods and comparing them to how our ancestors ate and whether the 'nutrition' in these 'normal healthy foods' is really what conventional thought claims it to be or whether some of these 'normal healthy foods' are actually more problematic to our health than good.  I'm finding such foods, namely grains, legumes and (oh how I hate to admit it) dairy to be more problematic than beneficial.

Soooooo, much to my older son's dismay, the members of our household still living at home full time are now transitioning to even less of those foods that man has messed with.  In other words, we eat mostly vegetables, nuts, fruits, eggs, and meat/seafood; the foods that God provides to us as readily available.  Things that don't need much in terms of processing to consume (other than someone to process the cow/deer/chicken, etc.  I'm NOT doing that).

We are actually experimenting with what is termed the Paleo and/or Primal Diet.

Now let me explain the 90% that I wrote above.

Life is hard.  We're not perfect.  And there are foods that, well, we are basically addicted to and going out to friends and families' homes that do NOT eat Paleo and Primal...well that would be hard.  It was hard enough on my extended family members when we were only avoiding artificial ingredients, let alone grains and legumes.  So we do, at least for now, allow ourselves an occasional meal with a SIDE (not main course anymore) of something with pasta or rice and occasionally I'll make a batch of brownies or cookies to put a smile on my son's face.  But now I have much smaller portions....one portion... and that's all. This way we are less likely to have a strong adverse reaction if we are eating somewhere that in order to be polite involves eating such foods.  We still will 100% avoid artifiical ingredients.  Eating that stuff would make us sick and that is just not worth it.

Now there are people who follow the paleo and primal diets that would say we can't call ourselves paleo or primal if we do that.  Oh well.  It is what it is.  This is what we are doing right now.  Some day I'd love for our family to do the Whole 30..... 30 days of essentially following the paleolithic diet a full 100% to see if we notice even more positive health changes than we have doing it our 90% way.  I like perusing over the Whole9 website.  I absolutely LOVED the It Starts With Food book written by the couple that are in charge of that program.  If you have time, I highly recommend reading the book and taking a look at the site.  Good information!  Information you won't see or hear at your doctor's office because, frankly, our dear family physicians and specialists are simply NOT trained in nutrition. There is simply no nutrition taught in medical school.  (My Dh is a physician ---  we have many friends that are physicians --- they are taught medicine - NOT nutrition) So it is up to us to research what is making us sick.  And the answer, my friends, is what we are putting into our bodies and exposing our bodies to in the environment.  The biggest factor, of course, is food.

My kids learned a long time ago what I think is the biggest health for all to learn, the difference between FOOD and food PRODUCTS.  The Standard American Diet is largely comprised of food products, not food.

So......   What do I eat???   I eat real food.

  • Grass-fed Meat & Wild-Caught Seafoods (of course we research to see what's considered safest in the seafoods)
  • Eggs from free-range chickens
  • Vegetables (legumes not included)
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • A small amount of dairy
  • dark chocolate with a bit of sea salt (A girl has to have her chocolate...lol)
  • And yes, occasionally, a small yummy that might contain a small amount of grain, sugar, or larger portion of dairy because I just haven't kicked the habit entirely and don't want to make things hard.

So there it is.  That is what I eat.  Any questions?  🙂